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I readily admit it.  I don’t get it.

I moved to Tennessee from Maryland in June, 2006, and I still don’t understand the thrill of deer hunting.

Before I get buried under an avalanche of hate mail from the avid outdoor enthusiast crowd, I am in no way shape or form one of those sappy animal rights, “Don’t kill Bambi !!!”, type people.  I’m not a vegan.  I’m not even a vegetarian.  Meat is my third favorite food group.  It’s right behind  Coca Cola Classic and Pizza.  Ironically enough my pizza is normally piled sky high with some form of meat as well.  As the bumper sticker says, “I didn’t climb to the top of the food chain to become a vegetarian.”

"I didn't climb to the top of the food chain to become a vegetarian"

“I didn’t climb to the top of the food chain to become a vegetarian”

Not that there’s anything wrong with being a vegetarian, I’m just making the point that I really do like meat!  That’s NOT what I have against deer hunting.  To all my friends who enjoy deer hunting, GO FOR IT!  Knock your socks off.  All I ask is that you bring me back some cubed venison for stew, or some ground venison for chili.  If you could bring me back some venison steaks to fry up with my eggs this weekend you’ll have made a friend for life!  As they say in the sticks, “That there is good eatin!”  That aspect of hunting I totally get.

I also understand enjoying time in the great outdoors and communing with nature.  I love the woods.  I grew up hiking and camping.  In fact there are certain skills that a hunter possesses that I would love to have.  I think knowing how to  skin, field dress and butcher a deer (or any other animal for that matter) so as to get the best cuts of meat and save any other useful parts of the animal would be a very handy skill to have.  I think if an end of the world, every man for himself type apocalypse ever comes, knowing how to track or at least what a good tracker looks for could be useful.  Whether you’re being hunted, or the one doing the hunting, having those skills could make all the difference in the world.  I get that!

What I don’t get is waking up at 3:30AM in hopes of spending the next 16 hours, sitting stone-statue-still, in a tree stand, clad in head-to-toe camouflage, shivering, teeth chattering, soaked up to the armpits in doe urine just to attract that one trophy buck…

And what I really, really don’t get is going through all of this, and STILL COMING HOME EMPTY HANDED!

Some mighty hunter you are!  Tell the truth, your ancient ancestors were of the “gathering” persuasion during the “hunting and gathering” phase of human existence!

I hear what you’re saying.

“Boy, you just don’t git the thrill of the hunt, that’s what!”

That might be true Bubba, but let me explain something to you.  You’re not exactly hunting the most elusive creature in the forest.  I’m pretty sure when God was handing out brains to all the different mammals, deer were the last ones in line. Deer got what was left in the bottom of the brain barrel, before God moved on to lower life forms.  Like slugs.  And jellyfish.

As kids, my brother and I used to chase deer through the woods.  Literally CHASE them.  Jumping logs and barbed wire fences, splashing through creeks and dodging thorns.  All without jostling our 20oz Cokes or spilling our Cheetos.  We did this on foot.  Without an ATV or a GPS navigation system.   Sadly, the deer, being exceptionally fast, would always outrun us.  Then, after getting a couple hundred yards away from us, they would stop.  And wait for us to catch up before running again.  Oddly enough, no doe urine was ever used on these “hunts”.   We wore Vans Skate shoes and Nirvana tee shirts.  Our socks weren’t even camouflage!  (Seriously Wal Mart, what kind of high-water pants are you selling to hunters in order to convince them that they need camouflage socks?)

For a more recent example than my childhood memories, I present Deer Stupidity Evidence, Exhibit 39.B.  This morning, on my way to work, I drove roughly 40 miles.  I saw a total of 19 deer in 4 different locations and not a single one of them was more than 20 feet from the interstate.  Two were crossing the interstate at a leisurely pace, and one appeared to be ‘grazing’ in the slow lane.  I wasn’t sitting in a tree stand, shivering, soaked in doe urine.  I was doing 75mph in a heated Ford Focus and smelled faintly of Axe body wash.

We’re talking about animals that not only routinely get hit by moving vehicles, but often times hit moving vehicles.  These are creatures that for no apparent reason will suddenly bolt from the comfort and safety of their forest abode only to face-plant into the passenger side window of a Chevy Cobalt at full speed.  Try explaining that one to an insurance agent.

“So you hit a deer Mr.  Turrell?”
“No sir.   This time the deer hit me.  I think he got angry that I took out his girlfriend last month.”
“You’re serious aren’t you?”
“Aren’t I always serious?”

My advice to anyone even considering getting into deer hunting is this…

Take the money you will end up spending on tree stands, rifle scopes, camouflage boxers, doe urine by the gallon, not to mention having the majority of your frostbit extremities amputated, and just buy a used car.  Weld a steel cattle catcher to the front bumper and you’re set.  I recommend something low to the ground with good fuel economy.  Do this and only this.  With enough patience and a little practice, I’m confident you’ll bag that elusive trophy buck.  My way has to be much easier and far more comfortable than your way!

My name is Jonathan Turrell.  And that’s my two cents.